While it may not officially be winter, the constant changes in weather are wreaking havoc on my skin.
To keep my skin free of dry patches, scales and flakies, I’m making exfoliation and oil application top priorities pre- and post-shower. Here’s the three things I do to defeat dry winter skin.
1. Dry Body Brushing
You may already use a loofah in the shower, but did you know that brushing your dry body is extremely beneficial?
In Ayurvedic medicine (an ancient Indian system of natural healing), dry body brushing is recommended for improving blood circulation and releasing toxins from the skin. In addition to these internal benefits, dry brushing obviously helps your skin slough off the dead layers that are clogging your pores and keeping your skin from looking supple and moist.
I’ve been using the Earth Therapeutics Purest Palm Body Brush, which the company sent for me to review, for the past month. The Japanese palm fibers are thick and dense, and while it took me a bit to ease into dry brushing (it is a little bit too much at first!), I have come to appreciate this pre-bath ritual.
Here’s how to dry brush your body:
1. Before you get into the shower, relax and take the brush in long, sweeping strokes, up the fronts and backs of your legs. (I like to concentrate on the backs of my thighs to help loosen up any toxins and fat that may want to bust out as cellulite!)
2. Apply light pressure on body parts with thin skin or where you just may be a little more sensitive. For me, this is my chest, armpits and stomach.
3. Apply more pressure on body parts with thicker skin (bottoms of feet!) or where you think you need to loosen up more toxins (booty!).
If this is a bit intense for you, you can also do this in the shower with a wet brush and body. However, I’d highly recommend trying the dry brushing method pre-shower to really break out blockages and stimulate your lymphatic system. Once you get in the shower, it’s all about the massage!
2. Abhyanga Massage
After you’re finished with your dry brushing, hop in the shower — but don’t douse yourself in water just yet.
Instead, break out your sesame oil (or olive oil or whatever you fancy) and place the bottle underneath the warm, running water to heat it up a bit. Now, it’s time to bathe yourself (pre-bath) in a warm oil massage.
Abhyanga massage, also a tradition of Ayurveda, keeps the skin-stimulating benefits of dry body brushing going, except now you have a luxurious layer of oil upon your body to calm your system and moisturize both your joints and your skin.
The abhyanga massage routine is similar to that of the dry brushing routine — simply rub the oil all over your body, in circular strokes with firm pressure, to help eliminate waste from the body and deliver moisture to the skin.
After you’ve oiled yourself up, relax. Take 5-10 minutes and allow the oil to sink in before turning on your shower and getting on with your bathing routine.
3. Exfoliating Scrub
So now that we’ve dry-brushed and oiled-up, the last thing you can do in the shower to help defeat dry winter skin is apply a homemade, natural exfoliating scrub to give your skin a final shot of oil while taking off any remaining dead skin cells.
If you opt to use the exfoliating scrub in the shower after dry brushing and the abhyanga massage, you can most likely skip the post-shower shot of oil that I usually recommend. Your body should be mega-moisturized and ready to brave the elements after all this!